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There was a lot of talking going about the Duke getting a smaller engine than the 200. And within a few weeks time, KTM India announced the 125 Duke. Very soon, the motorcycles hit the showrooms as well.
DriveSpark was invited to Bajaj Auto's Chakan test track facility for the first ride experience of the 125 Duke. We did a couple of laps on the trace and were very impressed with the motorcycle. So, is the baby Duke worth its price for a 125cc?
How Does It Look?
At first glance, the 125 Duke looks nothing like a motorcycle that will fit in the 125cc segment. It's a full-sized naked motorcycle. The 125 shares its design and a lot of other cues from its elder sibling, the KTM 200 Duke. To be precise, the chassis, suspension, wheels, instrumentation and even body panels are taken from the 200 Duke.
Up front, the baby Duke gets 43mm WP upside-down forks. In between the forks sits the same headlight unit which is seen on the 200. Sadly, like the one which is sold internationally, the India-spec Duke 125 does not have an LED unit, but gets halogen bulbs.
Right on top of the headlight sits the instrument cluster, which is identical and the readouts are exactly like its elder sibling. When the motorcycle is switched on, the 'Ready To Race' slogan is what one is greeted with. Other than that, the cluster displays a speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, an odometer, two trip meters, time, gearshift light and some warning lights.
Coming to the side, the motorcycle gets the same trellis frame which compliments its sporty nature, a lot. Tank design and capacity remains the same as the 200 at 10.2 litres. We could not test the mileage of the motorcycle, but since it's a 125cc we could expect anything towards the north of 40km/l.
The seat and the material used on it feels premium. Swing your legs around the saddle and the first thing one will notice is the comfort on offer. Being a naked motorcycle from the sports segment, the cushioning will not tire you out on long rides.
The rear suspension is a double rate, 60mm mono-shock, which is adjustable (manually). Now, these are a few elements of the 125 Duke which sets it apart from all the others in the 125 segment.
The KTM 125 Duke has a 124.7 cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC engine, which is a modified version of the Duke 200's unit. The engine churns out 14.3bhp at 9,250 rpm and 12Nm of torque peaking at over 8,000 rpm. That kind of power output is comparable to several 150-160cc premium commuter motorcycles.
Even though the power figures seem exciting, the 125 Duke lacks in pulling power. You need to keep the engine spinning fast to nudge it into urgency. The motorcycle has a high rev-range at 10,000 rpm. The engine's refinement and smoothness in acceleration are also appreciable.
The engine is mated to a slick six-speed gearbox and the shifts are really smooth. As the rest of the gears shift fast enough, the gap between the fifth and the sixth is a bit large; good for highway cruising.
At the back straight of the test track, the speedometer quickly climbed up to 90km/h, but took some time to climb upwards of 100km/h mark. We clocked 108km/h just once. As far as I can say, cruising on the 125 Duke is ideal between the 80-90km/h.
Thanks to the MRF tyres (front: 110/70 R17; rear: 150/60 R17), the grip levels on the 125 is phenomenal. Just like its elder siblings, the Duke 125 performs and handles really well. Even at some tight corners around the track, the motorcycle felt really planted. And to top it off, KTM has given a single channel ABS (from Bosch) to watch your back. A dual-channel ABS unit might have bumped up the price a little more.
Promeet Ghosh Thinks!
Well, for all the above features that I have mentioned, the baby Duke is definitely worth buying. It comes with a price tag of Rs 1.18 lakh ex-showroom, which is a lot of money for a motorcycle of the 125cc segment, but is worth it considering the Duke 125's performance.
Today, parents are really concerned when they buy their children a motorcycle that is a bit fast. Well, all those out there who are willing to buy a fancy motorcycle with a decent amount of power as their very first one, the 125 Duke will surely fulfil all their needs.